Race Report & Video: PMBA Enduro series finale at Kirroughtree

6 September 2023  |  

It’s almost impossible to believe that the Hope PMBA Enduro Series has come to an end for the 2023 season. With 5 races across the 3 nations, England, Scotland and Wales, it’s been one hell of a year for the series. Starting off with their most grassroots event at Gisburn Forest, followed by the last ever race at the epic Graythwaite estate in the Lake District, to a new and hugely well received event weekend at Ae forest. Then it was back to the steep hillside of Llangollen for a superb fast world class downhill tracks and then the series finale at the beautiful forest of Kirroughtree in the Galloway Forest Park, a National Park and an area of outstanding natural beauty.

This weekend wasn’t just finalising one race, but there were 3 individual races across the weekend. On the Saturday it was all about the Hope Women’s and Hope Academy Enduro series finale, a three race series supported by Hopetech with the intention of encouraging not only women into the heavily male dominated sport, but also bringing along much younger riders into the sport. As far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong), but this has been the first ever women’s enduro series in the UK. Later on the Saturday saw the one stage U10s race, a free to enter race giving the youngest of riders a chance to shred down part of a stage. From full on 24” full suspension mountain bikes to balance bikes this is always incredible to witness, let’s face it, these young rippers could turn out to be the future of our sport.

PMBA Enduro series - Kirroughtree

Incredible parents supporting their children in the U10s race

For the Saturday races 114 racers had entered the Hope Women’s & Academy races and 55 U10s for their race. The forest was one hell of a busy place all weekend. Not only were there races going on across 4 trails, but also many riders turn up on the Saturday to make a weekend of the event and go have a ride round the rest of forest before Sundays main event. This weekend always turns into a family weekend since Kirroughtree has superb facilities with the excellent Breakpad bike shop, a great quality cafe and all important showers. The weather also played a huge part this weekend. With 2023s summer being a nightmare of storms, biblical rainfall and quite miserable conditions (apart from the early summer we had in May/June), last weekend was awesome with light winds to keep the midges away and warm sunshine through the day, the conditions couldn’t have been more prime.

With so many races across the weekend it would be very lengthy to go through them all, but big shout outs go to the top 3 fastest riders in the 4 stage race on Saturday. Tom Groom (U15) in 10:35.94, second place to Charlotte McDowall (21-34F) in 10:40.33 and Hamish Howard (U15) in 10:47.38. The U10s race was super tight on times, with 3 boys taking the fastest times. Sebastian Redpath took the fastest time in 1:03.25, Xander Morris took second in 1:04.10 and third went to Louis Petrucci in 1:04.94, super tight racing there! In the top 10 fastest of the day went to Kate Jennison in 1:08.85. For a full rundown of the U10s race head over to roots and rain here. To check out the Hopetech Women’s results and Academy results here’s the link.

The main event on the Sunday was a 6 stage mash up race. No official practice, but just get out there and race each stage as many times as you like and in any order. With a mix up of full on off piste trails like Dragonfly furthest from the race HQ to trail centre full speed sections and Monkeypox, the trail built for the ’22 XC National Champs, this race had it all during a weekend of beautiful summer weather.

PMBA Enduro series - Kirroughtree

Joe Barnes was on fire throughout the Sunday race

For the main event Joe Barnes was the fastest across the 6 stages, winning each in a superb 13:22.86, with David Houston hot on his tails in 13:53.30 and third fastest was Fergus Lamb in 14:03.31, that was some racing and all 3 in the same category 30-39. It was good to see a veteran 40-49 breaking into the top 10 fastest times, Rik Duckworth in a cracking 14:43.65.

The woman’s main event saw 19 women racing across the six stages, with a clear winner by 1 minute and 41 seconds and fastest time of the day going to Katy Kaos McGowan in 17:1.41, second fastest went to Claire Bennett in 18:52.25 and third went to Alice Stephenson in 19:00.32. Katy is certainly a force to be reckoned with these days, and I witnessed first hand some of her high risk and high consequence racing lines.

PMBA Enduro series - Kirroughtree

Katy fastest woman by some margin also beating 66% of all other riders

So that’s it for the PMBA Enduro Series, the final series standing can be found over at SiEntries in this Link, to check out all your podium shots and series podiums shots, head over to the PMBA Enduro Series Facebook here.

So that’s it for this race report. A huge thanks go to Foresty Scotland for the use of their amazing venue, as well as the Breakpad bike shop and cafe for looking after the riders needs. Kev and his well established team really pulled out all the stops for this one. As Kev said during the podiums, 2024 will look very different for the PMBA Enduro Series, with only 2 events across the year, changes with Forestry England management have made it really difficult on top of new pricing seeing 20% of entry fees going directly to the Forest have forced many organisers to rethink their use. The planned venues will be a return to Kirroughtree and also Ae Forest after a hugely successful inaugural event there earlier this year. So to keep your eyes peeled on the PMBA Facebook and website for updates.

PMBA Enduro series - Kirroughtree

Some of the crew after two long days on the hill

That’s a wrap for 2023 and the PMBA Enduro Series, but don’t forget the team will be back and hosting the Hopetech Women Enduro on 7th October, the rider briefing and more information can be found here. This event is still live to sign up to, but don’t delay as it could well sell out, here’s your link.

One final thanks goes to Craig and Kirsty McGowan for attempting to teach me how to pronounce Kirroughtree (Kirrrrrr-rockkkkkk—–trés).

Comment on this article

Want to add your comments about this review? Login or Sign-up by clicking the button below..

Login/Sign Up